Solving A Problem

The greatest innovations usually begin by solving a problem. Commercial roofing specialists for more than 30 years, Lumeta co-founders watched the solar industry from its infancy, fielding questions and concerns from their customers. One of their largest customers, a national big box retailer interested in adding solar panels, requested they research the availability of a module that would not add excessive structural load to its roofs. The retailer also expressed concern about the numerous penetrations needed for srack-mounted mounted systems and the exposure to roof leaks they created. Research of the industry quickly showed there were no products on the market to solve these issues.

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Form and Function

The Lumeta co-founders immediately recognized that to achieve the goals of having lightweight module that did not attach to the roof through penetrations, they would need to find an alternative to the glass used in standard rack-mounted systems and would need to find a durable adhesive solution to eliminate roof penetrations. Performance also needed to remain a top priority and the new modules would need to pass rigorous reliability testing. The solution, a penetration-free module that does not compromise on performance and has surpassed the most rigorous testing, became not only an answer to their customer’s query, but an innovation applicable to both commercial and residential solar markets. In 2010, Lumeta completed the first commercial installations that now show more than 6 years of excellent performance in the field. In 2012, Lumeta was selected by the Department of Energy as the module partner for the Plug and Play PV for American Homes as part of their SunShot initiative run by Fraunhofer USA, one of the world’s largest and most respected PV R&D firms.

Looks Matter

With the Plug and Play program, Lumeta developed a new product based on their initial commercial module for the residential marketplace. They reduced the size and added improvements to include a tapered edge, on-board wire management, and an aesthetically pleasing wire tray. Looks matter, was the feedback they heard from their customers, and the low-profile, aesthetically-pleasing modules that blend into the roofline answered this concern. Additional benefits include a dramatic increase in installation efficiency for installers that creates a significant impact on gross profit margins per man day, and a decrease in complexity that includes fewer SKUs, and simplified installation.

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